5 Secrets To Helping Your Family Avoid The Back-To-School Slump This Fall

by Jody Mercier

The end of the school year comes with much to be excited about — summer vacation, family trips, a little less structure, and a lot more fun. But when the days get shorter and it comes time to head back to reality — and back to school — it can be tough to keep your family on track, motivated, and excited about the year ahead.

And who can blame them? Between early wake ups, piles of homework, and the return of not-so-sunny weather, back-to-school season can feel more like a letdown than a new beginning. Believe me, as a mom of kids who have trudged through many cycles of this process, I've learned pretty well what to expect.

But here's the good news: Over the years, I've also learned some pretty useful tips for overcoming the back-to-school slump and getting my family set up for success once September hits.

To help parents and kids in mourning for summer vacation, Romper teamed up with Boost Mobile to round up five easy tips to help your family ease into the new school year and beat those the back-to-school blues.

1. Invest In A Calendar

Get a big, old-school wall calendar and clearly mark the first day of school, then hang it in the family command center for all to see. This visual cue can help kids of all ages make the mental transition from summer to fall.

Use the calendar as a jumping off point to open up the conversation before the big day — find out what kids are excited about and what they’re fretting about, then offer some coping tips to help ease their anxiety long before school starts.

2. Set A Game Plan

While summer may have been filled with low-key days on the deck or at the pool, school brings obligations and the need for a routine. Fill the calendar with important appointments, but also use it to plot some family fun, giving everyone something to look forward to.

We love planning dinners out, movie nights, and fall outings like apple and pumpkin picking. Whatever excites your family, get it on the calendar, and recapture summer’s sense of adventure even though you’re back to toting lunch boxes and backpacks.

3. Get On The Same Phone Plan

The return to routine is a great excuse to reevaluate big family expenses, and these days, that tends to mean your phone plan. Whether you’re just sharing with your partner or you’re arming the kids with their own phones, consider the easy switch to Boost Mobile, which offers affordability in both devices and plans, and doesn’t lock you into a long-term contract. They're currently offering a four lines for $100/month deal, and unlimited plans ensure you’re not dealing with slow data speeds or overages when your kid streams one too many videos.

Take the money you save and start a family fun fund, using it for exciting activities or eventually, a vacation!

4. Simplify Family Meals

In the midst of a hectic fall, the last thing you want to hear is, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” This is especially true if you don’t have a concrete plan. While meal planning has never been my strong suit, I've found that fall dinners are easiest when they revolve around a theme.

Allow me to introduce you to Meatball Monday and Taco Tuesday! Rough guidelines give me some freedom (Swedish meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs, and meatball subs have all made appearances), while also keeping me focused and not scrambling at the last minute.

5. Prep For Success

Morning meltdowns are no fun for anyone, and I've found that avoiding them starts the night before. My 5-year-old has the freedom to pick out her outfit if she does it at night — but come morning, it’s mommy’s choice. The same thing goes for what's packed for lunch. This way, you give kids a sense of autonomy while prepping for a morning that's as smooth as possible.

And when I’m filling up that first glorious cup of coffee long before anyone’s alarm has gone off, there's no better feeling than knowing that we've (likely!) avoided morning meltdowns...until tomorrow, that is.

This post is sponsored by Boost Mobile.